RFI Intermediate Egrets (Vict.) & Western Treatment Plant/Werribee area

Subject: RFI Intermediate Egrets (Vict.) & Western Treatment Plant/Werribee area
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 15:50:28 +1100
approved: greyfalc0n
An alert for Victorian birdos and those visiting the Western Treatment 

Earlier this month (November 2005) Peter Fuller detected and photographed 
at the Western Treatment Plant (Werribee) an adult Intermediate Egret (one 
of 4 birds) which was in FULL BREEDING plumage (green face, red beak and 
legs, long plumes).  This is a very rare observation in southern Victoria 
and I have never seen the species in breeding plumage in the south of the 

Intermediate Egrets are 'Critically Endangered' in Victoria and also on 
the list of threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. 
Any sightings of the species in the state is significant and all 
observations need to be carefully recorded and added to the Atlas of 
Victorian Wildlife or Birds Australia atlas.

Egrets used to breed in the thousands at Murray River colonies in the 
1930s and 1940s but river regulation, loss of foraging habitat and early 
on the trade in plumes for the hat trade lead to a crash in egret 
populations in south eastern Australia.  Relatively minor (100s of birds) 
breeding events by egrets occurred in 1974 and again in 1993 on Murray 
River wetlands but Great, Intermediate and little Egrets now only have 
small breeding populations in southern Australia.

The significance of Peter's Intermediate Egret in breeding plumage is all 
the more important because there are NO records of the species ever 
breeding in southern Victoria.  the only known nesting sites for the 
species in the last 30 - 40 years have all been in Murray River wetlands 
(Gunbower and Barmah forests), some 300km north of Werribee.

This leads to the possibility of the observed birds currently nesting 
somewhere in the Werribee or possibly in the Geelong or Bellarine 
Peninsula districts.

Peter Fuller is currently making an effort to track down his birds again 
and this is a request for anyone in these areas plus those visiting the 
WTP to
- carefully check all white egrets they come across for this species and 
its state/colour of breeding plumage
- note directions of flight (which may indicate roost or nest sites) of 
any egrets (Little Egrets also occur at Werribee)
- potential colonially breeding (egrets, cormorants, Darter, spoonbill 
ibis) sites in these areas (especially those with trees)
- check for total numbers of egrets (all species) in your area

and pass this information onto me please.

It's possible the species is breeding in southern Victoria for the first 
recorded time so please keep tabs on your white egrets (Less the Cattle 
Egret, they are all threatened in Victoria).

Look forward to hearing of people's findings and any recent experience's 
they have had of Intermediate Egrets in Victoria.

cheers, Martin

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9637 9869
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message:
'unsubscribe birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • RFI Intermediate Egrets (Vict.) & Western Treatment Plant/Werribee area, Martin . O'Brien <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU